Maturation In Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

1257 Words 6 Pages
Growing up and being treated as an adult is a universal desire of adolescent children, however when it actually comes to maturation, many children shy away from the fact. Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” chronicles the experiences that young Connie has with growing up too fast. Connie’s rapid maturation is due to a mixture of self-esteem issues, the desire for attention of older boys, and peer pressure from friends. Coming of Age Too Early: Pubertal Influences on Girls’ Vulnerability to Psychological Distress, written by Xiaojia Ge, Rand D. Conger, and Glen H. Elder Jr. explores some similar situations and topics experienced by Connie and through scientific studies explains what may be going on in Connie’s …show more content…
The lack of attention from both parents leads Connie to have to grow up without the love and adoration that is necessary from both parents. Her father is described as: “…away at work most of the time and when he came home he wanted supper and he read the newspaper at supper and after supper he went to bed. He didn 't bother talking much to them” (Oates 404). Her fathers avoidant parenting style is detrimental to his children, as Connie does not believe that in her father’s eyes, she is important. Her mother had the opposite of avoidant parenting: “Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything and who hadn’t much reason any longer to look at her own face, always scolded Connie” (Oates 403). Her mother, although not avoidant like Connie’s father, is critical and judgmental towards Connie, which can be just as detrimental as avoidance. Connie’s mother also favors her other daughter, June, over Connie, and does not try to make that fact secretive. Ge, Conger, and Elder point out in their article that: “Evidence suggests that parental hostility increases risk for internalizing problems for both adolescent boys and girls” (Ge, Conger, Elder). Both of Connie’s parents are extremely hostile towards her, be that through avoidant parenting or inconsiderate comments, but either way, her parent’s actions are a driving force behind Connie’s obvious internalized …show more content…
However, her completely new personality around her friends is not necessarily a positive thing. Peer pressure is almost a requirement in adolescence, seeing as no one wants to be judged by their peers. Ge, Conger, and Elder explain: “Because early maturing girls place particular emphasis on their own popularity and appearance in their contacts, their tightened vulnerability during entry into adolescence is significantly associated with peer pressures exerted by older males and their circle of friends” (Ge, Conger, Elder). Connie is in a vulnerable state where everything she does is watched and judged by her friends and peers. Because of this, she has to put on a front that is made purely of traits that people will accept. Connie and her friends go to the mall, because that is where the older boys hang out, and they want to get the attention from them. Connie is always focused on how she looks, always looking in mirrors and judging what other people are doing as well. She is so preoccupied with herself that she fails to understand what is going on around her, as well as the situations that she gets herself

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